Revealed: The NFL’s Smartest Teams and Players
With the NFL season around the corner, we’re set to experience another exciting year of high drama and incredible performances, as the Los Angeles Rams hope to defend their Super Bowl title. A host of competent contenders will challenge them.
Those other teams will use everything at their disposal to knock off the Rams. But we know it will take more than just smarts to do it. The NFL even decided to abandon the famous Wonderlic testing process ahead of the 2022 draft, citing the lack of correlation between cleverness and ability.
Still, inquiring minds want to know, what are the smartest teams? We decided to take a look at teams that had the most intelligent overall group and just who those smart guys are.
The Five Smartest NFL Teams
Comparing average Wonderlic scores across the NFL, we’ve been able to reveal which 2022 footballing franchises are the smartest of them all – and which are the least intelligent. Find out where your team ranks.
1. Minnesota Vikings
With an impressive average Wonderlic score of 28.7, the Minnesota Vikings can officially be crowned as the smartest team in the NFL. A team with academic athletes includes backup quarterback Sean Mannion, who scored 40, center Garrett Bradbury (35) and defensive tackle Harrison Philips (35). The team does have a couple of guys who didn’t score that well: Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson had scores of 11 and 19, respectively.
2. Houston Texans
The Houston Texans place second in the overall Wonderlic scores. The Texans have an average score of 28.1, helped by running back Dare Ogunbowale’s (35) and guard Max Scharping’s (31) impressive totals. Backup quarterback Kevin Hogan’s 38 helped the overall score, but he was cut on the third day of training camp.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers had an average score of 27.4. Seven players scored above the team average, but the most notable achievers include defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (36), center Mason Cole (30), and free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (30). On the flip side, quarterbacks Kenny Pickett (17) and Mitch Trubisky (25) bring down the average.
4. Chicago Bears
Recording an average Wonderlic score of 26.8, the Chicago Bears rank. Across the team, three players scored 30+, with tight end Chase Allen (39) trailed by quarterback Nathan Peterman (33) and wide receiver Dante Pettis (32). At the other end of the spectrum, cornerback Lamar Jackson scored a 13.
5. Washington Commanders
Rounding out the five smartest NFL franchises, we have the Washington Commanders, with an average score of 26.5. Leading the way, quarterback pair Carson Wentz and Sam Howell score 40 and 34, respectively. Center Chase Roullier (31) and defensive end Casey Toohill (30) trail closely. Bringing down the average are running back Antonio Gibson (12) and defensive ends Chase Young (19) and Montez Sweat (19).
Who are the smartest NFL athletes?
We’ve compared the smartest NFL franchises, but which players lead the way with the most impressive Wonderlic scores and claim the crown as most intelligent?
Four of the five smartest NFL players are quarterbacks. Buccaneers backup Blaine Gabbert (42), the Eagles’ Gardner Minshew (42), Super Bowl LII champ Carson Wentz (40), and Vikings backup Sean Mannion (40) lead the group that scored better than 40, along with Chiefs guard Nick Allegretti (42).
Rounding out the Top 10 is L.A. Chargers QB Justin Herbert (39), Tampa Bay linebacker Anthony Nelson (39), Bengals offensive tackle Jonah Williams (39), Chicago tight end Chase Allen (39) and Bills tight end Dawson Knox (38).
With zero Super Bowl titles since 2008 among the smartest teams, there’s little evidence to suggest a correlation between overall intelligence and footballing ability. That could be why the NFL scrapped the Wonderlic tests ahead of the 2022 draft.
To determine the NFL’s smartest teams for 2022, we scanned the web to retrieve the Wonderlic scores of active players (those who appear on an NFL roster ahead of the 2022 season).
All Wonderlic scores were added and divided by the number of values in the data set to calculate an average team score. The higher the average score, the smarter the team. Not all Wonderlic scores are made public, so average team scores are an estimation based on available data.
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